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Biomass investment to hit $100 billion by 2021

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Biomass power generation capacity is predicted to grow by more than 86GW by 2021, a rise from the current 58GW, and representing a total investment of more than $100 billion (€78 billion), according to Pike Research.

If a more aggressive implementation campaign is put in place to build on the bioenergy resources, capacity could hit 115GW, which is an investment of more than $135 billion.

Governments around the world are beginning to invest more and more into bioenergy as it views renewable energy as a way to get around problems such as energy security issues, increased carbon emissions and low economic development.

‘Although facing significant headwinds, the biopower industry is continuing to add capacity worldwide as governments look to develop low-cost, base load renewable energy sources,’ says senior analyst Mackinnon Lawrence.  ‘Currently, power generation from biomass is hamstrung by policy uncertainty and the high costs of feedstock relative to fossil fuels, but the combination of a burgeoning international trade in biomass pellets, implementation of emission regulations, and increased utilisation of co-firing strategies is expected to accelerate global scale-up efforts over the next decade.’

However, currently most biopower facilities generate less than 50MW although larger capacities are scheduled to come online with co-firing biomass mixed with coal being seen as a lower cost strategy to reduce emissions.

Pike Research says that the demand for biomass is set to grow, hitting about 1 billion tonnes a year within the next ten years.